Announcing More Details on Xbox FanFest: E3 2018

Today, on the second episode of Inside Xbox, we revealed brand-new details on Xbox FanFest at E3 2018. When we started doing FanFest a little over 4 years ago, we not only wanted to create global rally venues for Xbox fans; we also wanted gamers everywhere to know how deeply important they are to our past, present and future. This year, we’re looking to do even more. Xbox has two fantastic offers at this year’s E3. First, you can win a chance to be one of the 400 lucky people to experience Xbox FanFest from June 10 through June 11,…

Drop in to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds During Free Play Days Weekend, April 19-22

Get ready for a free trial of PlayerUnknown’s Battlgrounds (PUBG) during Xbox Live Gold’s Free Play Days, beginning Thursday, April 19 at 12:01 a.m. PDT to Sunday, April 22 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Once the event begins, download the game by clicking on the Gold Member feature area on the Xbox Live home dashboard, or search for the game on the Microsoft Store via the Xbox Dashboard. Developed by PUBG Corp, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the multi-award winning battle royale experience that drops players into a competitive survival battle where you’ll engage in a heart-racing fight to be the last player left alive….

More Original Xbox Games Coming to Xbox One Backward Compatibility

Today we’re excited to announce even more additions coming to the Xbox One Backward Compatibility catalog this month, including 19 new Original Xbox games and six Xbox 360 games with Xbox One X Enhancements. Starting today, fans can play Sonic Generations for the first time on the Xbox One family of devices alongside other Xbox 360 favorites that will receive Xbox One X Enhanced updates such as Darksiders, Gears of War 2, Portal 2, Red Dead Redemption, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Later this month, we’ll release two batches of Original Xbox games – the first on April 17…

Epic Games Educational Spotlight – Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Games + Animation

School: Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Games + Animation
Department: Games 

Program Description:

For over twenty years, Gnomon has educated many of the world’s best digital artists. Called “the MIT of visual effects” by Fast Company magazine, Gnomon offers a variety of educational options to help students reach their goals in the entertainment industry, with both degree and vocational certificate programs, specialized courses for high school students and over 100 individual courses for professional enrichment.

Visual effects artists launched Gnomon with the support of the entertainment industry to help meet the demand for well-trained creative talent in the growing field of digital entertainment. Gnomon’s graduates are professionals working on the latest blockbuster films and games, and have positions at film and video game studios around the world.

The games curriculum combines Gnomon’s one-of-a-kind core digital production education with an emphasis on game art, design, and tools.

With a balance of design education and software-based technical training, Gnomon’s games courses offers students an extensive and in-depth skill set relevant to the demands of the industry.      

 

Instructor Spotlight:

Featured Educator – Anton Napierala – Anton has an extensive background as a Maya artist, with clientele including Disney, Mattel, MTV, and Miramax. As a senior environment artist on Sony’s first-party game Major League Baseball, Anton was responsible for creating game assets, training and mentoring team artists, and aiding in developing pipeline and procedures. He brings a wealth of experience in games development to his classes at Gnomon.

Featured EducatorNick Reynolds – Nick has extensive experience in video game development as an environment artist. He balances creative drive with organization and discipline, which has made him a sought-after artist in the field. Nick brings these skills to his instruction here at Gnomon.

 

Student Spotlight:

Individual Student Work  Julian Elwood – Although Julian is very tech-oriented with his game art skills, he’s also a very talented artist with a great eye for both realistic and stylized artwork. He is the president of the Gnomon Games Club. Julian recently placed in Blizzard’s Student Environment Art Competition with his Unreal based stylized “Haunted Chicken Coop” 

“Julian is extremely talented, and I can’t wait to see what types of professional projects he works on,” said Anton Napierala

Looking Glass from wssszsss on Vimeo.

Group Student WorkLooking Glass – In Anton’s level design class, a group of students as part of their final project, put together a VR experience, “Looking Glass,” in Unreal Engine. Players travel back and forth between the real world and a dark and twisted mirror world, as they attempt to escape from a haunted bathroom. They built everything within four weeks.

Core Team members:

Game Design & Blueprint – Josh Rose

Texturing & Modeling & Lighting – Mido Lai, Rico Suyang Wang

Instructor – Anton Napierala

Sound effects – Jin S. Wong

External Talent:

Music – ‘Dead Inside’ By Beatowski Beats

Gnomon is committed to being on the cutting edge with industry software and trends, which is why they teach Unreal Engine as their premiere engine in Games Creation courses. There are too many amazing student projects to share within one article, so you are invited to view their Student Showcase at www.gnomon.edu/showcase.

Nintendo Life

Nintendo Life goes hands-on with the new(ish) Story Of Seasons: Trio of Towns DLC Check out this write up Nintendo Life did on the Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns New Neighbors DLC.

“New Neighbors DLC should be a no-brainer”

The Humble Strategy Bundle: Get your head in the game with this…

The Humble Strategy Bundle: Get your head in the game with this bundle! You’ll score titles like Tooth and Tail, Endless Legend, and Endless Space 2 – Standard Edition. Plus, your purchase will support the Whale and Dolphin Conservation!Assets for Pres…

5 Tips and Tricks to Saving Humanity in Extinction

Extinction is launching today and we’re extremely excited for people to get their hands on a video game that gives players a true experience of going toe-to-toe against enemies of tremendous scale: the Ravenii. Ravenii are a monster race only previously mentioned before in fairytales, legends passed on throughout generations. No one really believed they were still in existence…until now. These bloodthirsty beasts were once close to ending mankind, and only a specialized group of warriors known as Sentinels could hold them back. Unfortunately, the Sentinels, much like the Ravenii, are a rare breed that has long been absent in…

The Devs of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux Answer Your Questions

Shin Megami Tensei fans around the world are tuning up their Demonicas for their expedition to Antarctica when Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux launches on May 15*! This won’t be an easy mission (what kind of SMT game would it be if it was eas…

Following the Trace of Alien Civilization in Relic Seeker: Hypogeum

Relic Seeker: Hypogeum is a puzzle adventure game about an archaeologist`s journey to discover the secrets of an ancient civilization. Players take on the role of the archaeologist as they explore ancient ruins, discover the trace of aliens who intervened in pre-civilization earth and solve puzzles that block their progress.

The project is a VR game developed by the three-artist team at Massive Wheel in Korea. We caught up Massive Wheel to find out more about the ways in which UE4 has enabled this small, artist-only team to bring this game to life on multiple platforms with stunning graphic quality.
 

Before we discuss the game, please tell us about Massive Wheel.

Massive Wheel is team of three artists who all have solid experience in major online game studios. Three of us not only worked on game design and art, but also coding and planning, and even sound was worked on by our team with the source purchased from the Unreal Engine Marketplace. Relic Seeker: Hypogeum has been published as our first work on the Google Daydream and Oculus Gear VR platforms and we are currently preparing to release it on Steam VR, Android and IOS within the year.

How did you began the Relic Seeker: Hypogeum project?

Like many other Korean developers, we started our career from major PC  games, especially MMORPG. After gaining considerable career experience however, we were trying to make something fresh. It was then that the idea of a 3D puzzle adventure game on mobile came to mind. Not only because the genre is pretty uncommon and all of us like it, but we also thought the genre could reflect us overcoming the many challenges from several fields in development. 

After revealing the development build on SNS and at BIC Fest (Busan Indie Connect Festival), we had gathered a lot of user feedback suggesting that Relic Seeker would be more fitting for VR, so we began VR development in earnest after considering the possibilities along with our capabilities.

The result was successful. Many people from Korea and Japan came to enjoy our game at several conferences, and although it was quite difficult to spend a long time on just one game, many players experienced the whole 30 minute playtime limit. These sessions were very valuable as we applied user feedback as much as possible to make a highly immersive mobile VR game with great graphical quality.

The game’s spaces are scarcely duplicated, rather various kind of stages composed of many puzzle objects and unique structures appears continuously. Was this scale of work a problem for the team considering there are only three members?

The three of us are all capable of 3D modeling, which helped, but one of our strengths on the project was to push the limits of our own ability. Of course the progress was quite bumpy as there were no prior project data to inform how much scale is appropriate or how much detail could be shown for mobile platforms, but we have gathered the necessary data as we developed thousands of designs and modeling on our own. Ultimately,  we have been able to implement a variety of detailed and distinctive spaces and structures in the game as a result.

Why did you choose Unreal Engine 4?

Two major advantages from us were graphical quality and Blueprint visual scripting. All of us were artists and lacked experience programming games, so we prioritized the possibility of implementation for great quality of graphics as we want, without advanced programming discipline. In fact, we began development with a different engine, but with UE4’s Blueprint visual scripting system, which supports those with no programming experience, and better graphical performance in the same environment, it was really worth transitioning from Unity to Unreal.

For example, optimization was one of the most difficult parts of development, but we reduced lots of draw calls using HLOD and Precomputed Visibility, which both are parts of Unreal Engine`s utility, and could get a significant performance improvement with Multi-view. Even after that, we could decrease more draw calls with Blueprint. UE4 gave us great satisfaction and helped us achieve our goals for the project. 

Relic Seeker: Hypogeum has been developed with only Unreal Engine’s Blueprint. Is there any special reason for that?

Yes! Because we could implement all the functionalities we wanted with Blueprint while C++ native coding was not familiar to us. Blueprint has both intuitiveness and utility, making it possible for us to create puzzles and in fact the entire game with Blueprint. We were able to ship Relic Seeker: Hypogeum on Google Daydream and Gear VR without authoring a single line of code.  

Any other benefit of the engine which particularly helped the development?

Immediate and ongoing engine updates were impressive. New technologies are constantly introduced to VR, and every time the SDK would be newly updated for each platform. And Unreal Engine has been rapidly updated for the situation. It has significantly influenced optimization and quality of the game. 

Also in multi-platform response, Unreal Engine significantly helped a small team like us. We developed the Daydream version first and worked the Gear VR version based on it, but further (Engine) optimization has been added during the development. So we decided to implement the optimization to the Daydream version, and the progress required less than a few hours. It is a huge advantage in terms of having to launch and maintain games on multiple platforms.

What advice would you give to independent developers who want to use Unreal in the future?

I think It is vital for indie developers to expose their games to various platforms. So you should place priority on whether you can cope with several platforms with minimum members without many problems. Unreal Engine would be excellent choice in that aspect.

We have one rule when we work considering multi-platform, which is our primary way to work with UE binary version as much as possible, and update it immediately when every new version has been released. So that we can maintain the latest release version and reduce the amount of adjustment for each platform when we convert to the other platforms after that. 

Sometimes developers from non-programming backgrounds who are considering Unreal Engine begin to question whether they could make the game they were planning only with Blueprint, and just give up even before the start. I would like to inform you that Blueprints is more powerful than you may think as we have created a game with high-quality graphics using only Blueprint.

Where can people go for more information on Relic Seeker: Hypogeum and your team?

You can find Daydream version and GearVR version of the game from each markets, and check out our Facebook if you would like to follow our updates.